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Best sushi in Santa Monica?

tonylazzeri Feb 20, 2010 07:09 AM

Visiting brother-in-law next week, he just moved out from NYC and he loves sushi. Please let me know where to take him.

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    aventinus RE: tonylazzeri Feb 20, 2010 07:12 AM

    Consider Kiriko on Sawtelle and Olympic.

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      sillygoosedown RE: tonylazzeri Feb 20, 2010 07:28 AM

      I am from NYC and love sushi too. Is your brother-in-law single!? JK...i have a bf :).

      Anyhoo...I strongly recommend Sushi Roku. It's right across from the ocean. You guys will love it!

      6 Replies
      1. re: sillygoosedown
        J.L. RE: sillygoosedown Feb 20, 2010 09:12 AM

        I strongly recommend against with Roku. It is vile sushi. Ocean views do not guarantee a decent sushi experience.

        1. re: J.L.
          epop RE: J.L. Feb 20, 2010 08:08 PM

          Yes, Roku is horrendous.

        2. re: sillygoosedown
          westsidegal RE: sillygoosedown Feb 20, 2010 09:23 AM

          must respectfully disagree with the recommendation of sushi roku if food quality is important to you

          1. re: westsidegal
            sillygoosedown RE: westsidegal Feb 20, 2010 12:24 PM

            It's been voted best sushi in Los Angeles. You can't even get in without a reservation. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is America!

            1. re: sillygoosedown
              J.L. RE: sillygoosedown Feb 20, 2010 12:58 PM

              The reason many of us are here on Chowhound is because we like the opinions of other eaters who trust their OWN palates, unswayed by the Zagat and the Yelp lists out there. Cheesecake Factory is on also ranked Zagats, but that doesn't make it Chow-worthy in my book. And neither is Sushi Roku.

              In this part of America, we are very lucky to be able to find good Brazilian feijoada, Egyptian fuul, Malaysian Penang curry, Persian estamboli polo, and Chinese xiaolongbao (and perhaps even 辣小猫睾丸, if you look hard enough), all in the same metropolitan area - Chowhound, not Zagat, helps me with this. That's real eating, in my (American) opinion.

            2. re: westsidegal
              The Chowhound Team RE: westsidegal Feb 20, 2010 09:03 PM

              Folks, we had to remove some posts that were critical of other eaters' opinions. Please rate the chow, not the chowhound.

          2. J.L. RE: tonylazzeri Feb 20, 2010 09:16 AM

            The Hump (at SM airport) $$$$ - Fresh fish, some directly off the plane from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.
            Mori (Pico & Gateway) $$$$ - Outstanding if you sit at the sushi bar, but just OK at their tables.
            Kiriko (near Sawtelle & Olympic) $$$ - A perennial Chowhound favorite. Ken-san is awesome.
            Sushi King (on Wilshire) $$ - Close to SM. Decent.
            Sasabune (on Wilshire) $$$ - Omakase. Some people love the warm rice, some people hate it.
            Hide (on Sawtelle) $ - Cheap and solid sushi.

            Echigo $$ - More like Echi-don't-go
            Hara Sushi (on Wilshire) - Meh.

            22 Replies
            1. re: J.L.
              westsidegal RE: J.L. Feb 20, 2010 09:22 AM

              couple of comments on J.L.'s reccomendations:
              1) the per-person-tab at the Hump can well run MORE than the per-person-tab at urasawa.
              2) imho the sushi quality at Hide is far superior to that at Sushi King. that said, the ambiance at Hide is not as good (but the cost at Hide is lower).

              1. re: westsidegal
                J.L. RE: westsidegal Feb 20, 2010 09:38 AM

                Agree with westsidegal on the above...

                1. re: westsidegal
                  kevin RE: westsidegal Feb 20, 2010 01:47 PM

                  hump more expensive than even urasawa? since when.?

                  also is echigo really that bad i haven't been in a few years but it was a decent alternative to nozawa/sasabune a few years back.

                  or would you say echigo and sasabune are both not very good?

                  1. re: kevin
                    ipsedixit RE: kevin Feb 20, 2010 02:07 PM

                    Many of the sushi dishes (esp. the Chef's recommended dishes) are $30 each. Other sushi plates generally start at $20 or thereabouts.

                    But I've heard of horror stories with the omakase at The Hump -- e.g. a tab of $1500 for two people with alcohol.

                    Last time I was at Uraswa, dinner was $350 (before tax, tip and alcohol). Closer to $500 with everything added.

                    So, yeah, if you do the math, depending on what you are served that day at The Hump, the per person charge can be significantly higher than Urasawa.

                    1. re: kevin
                      J.L. RE: kevin Feb 20, 2010 04:09 PM

                      Ipse is right. My last blowout at The Hump ran about $500 pp for our party of 6 at the sushi bar - we had Hokkaido Hairy Crab, and several other "can't-get-in-LA" items... Outstanding meal, though.

                      1. re: J.L.
                        kevin RE: J.L. Feb 20, 2010 05:26 PM

                        Do you remember what other dishes you can't get in LA, and going to the Hump did you have an awareness going into it that it might cost anywhwere from 350 to 500 per person? And was the quality of your meal for 500 per better than Urasawa

                        1. re: kevin
                          J.L. RE: kevin Feb 20, 2010 06:28 PM

                          Let's see... It was a business meal, so I had some premium daiginjo sake in my system. Forgive any lapses in my memory.

                          There was the hairy crab, Kagoshima beef (I know, not fish) served on a hot stone, Japanese mountain eggplant (not available in U.S., I'm told), baby Japanese barracuda, uni from Awaji Shima, wild salmon ikura. Whitefish (tiny) in a martini glass, served with a ponzu sauce (still squiggling as it went down the hatch). And the usual suspects: o-toro, anago, kanpachi, etc. etc.

                          Yes, it's fair to say that The Hump that night was as comparable to any visit as I've had to Urasawa.

                          1. re: J.L.
                            kevin RE: J.L. Feb 20, 2010 06:33 PM

                            that makes sense the kagoshima beef alone would cost probably 100 per person, daingiono another 100 per, and the uni maybe 25 per and you're already at 250, yep, that does make sense i guess.

                      2. re: kevin
                        mollyomormon RE: kevin Feb 21, 2010 09:13 AM

                        I actually like Echigo and definitely enjoy it more than Sasabune with the caveat that the atmosphere is lacking. Their monkfish liver preparation is my favorite in town. It is warm rice, however, so if that's not your thing then you won't enjoy it.

                        1. re: mollyomormon
                          Bob Brooks RE: mollyomormon Feb 21, 2010 01:21 PM

                          I certainly agree with you, Molly. Echigo is way better than Sasabune and their monkfish liver is the best I've ever had. (With the possible exception of Sushi Zo).

                          1. re: Bob Brooks
                            kevin RE: Bob Brooks Feb 21, 2010 01:51 PM

                            How much does Echigo run for the omakase nowadays? Perhaps a return visit is in store. I remember it used to be the cheapest of the omakases around town. And also the lunch special for 12 bucks was quite a deal (it may have been 10 bucks when it just opened though).

                            1. re: kevin
                              mollyomormon RE: kevin Feb 22, 2010 10:07 AM

                              Bob, I love the monkfish liver at Zo as well. I just always give the edge to Echigo since it's always such a generous portion.

                              I think the lunch special there is now $13 and while I have to order a few pieces extra if I'm going to be full, I still think it's a good value. Haven't ever done omakase there, so no idea how much it would run. For point of reference, when I ate there about a month ago for dinner a la carte, we ordered enough to be stuffed and I think it came out to around $50-55pp without alcohol or tip.

                    2. re: J.L.
                      epop RE: J.L. Feb 20, 2010 08:11 PM

                      I haven't been to HIde b/c I heard it wasn't all that great.

                      I had far better sushi at echigo than at sasabune. They were great in the old location but I will never go back to the new place.

                      1. re: epop
                        kevin RE: epop Feb 20, 2010 08:33 PM

                        What happened at the new location of Sasabune, ? They were assembly line style at both the old mexicatessen location on nebraskasn and sawtelle as well as the newfangled, huge, cavernous new location in the old Todai space on wilshire and bundy.

                        1. re: kevin
                          epop RE: kevin Feb 20, 2010 11:51 PM

                          At the old location I had plenty of fish that was cut to order.

                          Now I feel like I'm at a salad bar and I might as well slap it on there myself.

                          1. re: epop
                            kevin RE: epop Feb 21, 2010 07:35 AM

                            I think you're ri9ght, but i can't remember if it was pre-cut at the old location too.

                            At least at zo it ain't pre-cut, but now thinking about nozawa has always been pre-cut or at least for the past 10 years or so it has.

                            1. re: kevin
                              ipsedixit RE: kevin Feb 21, 2010 10:00 AM

                              It was not precut at the old location.

                              1. re: kevin
                                epop RE: kevin Feb 21, 2010 12:36 PM

                                Nozawa isn't charging like Sasabune.

                                1. re: epop
                                  kevin RE: epop Feb 21, 2010 12:42 PM

                                  charging? or did you mean pre-cutting?

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    epop RE: kevin Feb 21, 2010 02:49 PM

                                    I meant Nozawa costs much less.

                          2. re: epop
                            mollyomormon RE: epop Feb 21, 2010 09:16 AM

                            I didn't scroll down to read this but I wish that I would have. Totally agreed that Echigo is way better than Sasabune. I just can't wrap my head around wanting to pay the price for a set omakase where the sushi is pre-cut and absolutely drenched in sauces.

                          3. re: J.L.
                            Clyde RE: J.L. Mar 11, 2010 08:54 AM

                            i've been to kiriko and sushi king on this list - others on the list i want to try. i thought kiriko was incredible sushi, i am bummed that the time we went we were in a mad rush to get to a concert. i went to sushi king on wilshire; trusted yelp reviews when i was in the area. it was perfect for what i needed. mellow, excellent sushi and i downed 3 sakes that night.

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                            tonylazzeri RE: tonylazzeri Feb 20, 2010 10:59 AM

                            This is great! Thanks everyone!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tonylazzeri
                              J.L. RE: tonylazzeri Feb 20, 2010 06:46 PM

                              Sure thing.

                            2. Senor Popusa RE: tonylazzeri Feb 20, 2010 12:27 PM

                              I'd highly recommend Nagao. Its at the Santa Monica / Brentwood border on San Vicente & 26th sts, right by the Brentwood country mart. Both the nigiri and the rolls I have had were very good. Casual atmosphere, not so divey/homey as Hide but not so fussy as the temples of sushi.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Senor Popusa
                                J.L. RE: Senor Popusa Feb 20, 2010 12:47 PM

                                How does it compare with Takao in Brentwood?

                                1. re: J.L.
                                  epop RE: J.L. Feb 20, 2010 08:12 PM

                                  Pretty comparable to Takao. It is a neighborhood sushi place with solid, fresh fish. Not on the level of Mori, for ex.
                                  I'd say the sushi is a bit better than Takao while Takao has slightly better surprises, such as their grilled toro.

                                  1. re: epop
                                    Bria Silbert RE: epop Feb 21, 2010 05:00 AM

                                    Question about Hara - is it good on its own merit, or does it get points for their 2 for 1 specials I alwas see advertised in their window?

                                  2. re: J.L.
                                    daftpunkxl RE: J.L. Feb 22, 2010 02:18 PM

                                    I have found the fish quality at Takao to be as good as anything I've had in town (haven't been to Urasawa or Hump, though). Just be sure to sit at the bar, and inquire about what they have in special. Had fresh octopus sushi last week and it was a game-changer for me.

                                    1. re: daftpunkxl
                                      lizziee RE: daftpunkxl Mar 11, 2010 09:51 AM

                                      I second Takao - probably the best cooked dishes on the Westside. Also, Takao does tempura perfectly - not a touch of grease and very very light. Sitting at the sushi bar is a must and if you can sit at Takao's station (far left). One advantage is that you can make a reservation.

                                      Current pics here:

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                                  sillygoosedown RE: tonylazzeri Feb 22, 2010 09:19 PM

                                  I also recommend the sushi at Whole Foods on Lincoln. It's organic and YUM. Real Food Daily has a really yummy and healthy sushi roll. It's all vegetables but sushi doesn't have to have fish.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sillygoosedown
                                    joshekg RE: sillygoosedown Feb 23, 2010 12:20 AM

                                    I'd have to disagree about the WF sushi. I shop at that WF all the time and have eaten the sushi, it's not very good. It's the usual supermarket suspects of bland farmed salmon and tuna gassed with carbon monoxide (to fix that bright red color).

                                    I generally make the drive over to Mori when I'm feeling in the mood for sushi. Or if I just want something simple I can go to Safe and Save supermarket on Sawtelle - just recently picked up some super fresh uni and some ikura to eat over rice.

                                    1. re: joshekg
                                      Robhungry1 RE: joshekg Mar 5, 2010 04:57 PM

                                      A quick comment about the hump vs urowsaw...The hump does not put it upfront that you are in rare sushi air and the price can shock...Urosawa is known for it's primo quality and the cost is well known as well. I find the hump no where near the experience of urosawa yet it can be as expensive...
                                      Now for Westside sushi I really like Hide and lov eto take $100 and stuff myself. Due to the high volume the fish is fresh and I come out filled up...but my favorite isTorofuku on Pico...I've eaten there many times and have had my education of Japense food expended dramatically....It is my favorite...great ambiance and not just sushi but a solid Jpanese menue with extraodianary rice. It's right next to the movies and my family loves it. It can be pricey but I've never felt abused when letting the chef make the choices....

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